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How To Do Tricep Dips

What Is A Tricep Dip

How To Do Tricep Dips

The tricep dip is a bodyweight, compound exercise that predominantly targets the triceps with further involvement from the chest and detoids. Tricep dips are suitable for all levels and can be progressed or regressed where appropriate. There are two variations of the tricep dip, one which uses a bench and another which uses a dip bar. Both versions of the tricep dip requires the performer to use elbow flexion to lower themselves before pushing themselves back up.

The dip bar requires the performer to lift their whole-body weight making it a more challenging movement which requires greater stability and strength. Instead, the bench tricep dip allows the performer to plant their feet on the floor transferring some tension from the triceps making it an easier movement. If you’re new to dips, the bench tricep dip is likely a more suitable starting place before progressing to the dip bar.

Commonly Asked Questions On Tricep Dips

  • Tricep dips are a bodyweight exercise that can build some serious strength and size in the upper arms, with tricep strength translating to stronger pressing movements like bench press. They also engage the core and work the shoulders and chest, helping to improve shoulder stability.  

  • Dips can be used to train your triceps and chest. Leaning further forward puts more emphasis on the chest, while maintaining a straight torso works the triceps more.

  • Tricep dips are well worth doing if you want to build muscle and increase arm strength, improve shoulder stability, and work the core.

Tricep Dips Tips

Due to the positioning of the bench tricep dip and the heavy load that the triceps are subject to, tension can shift from the triceps to the shoulders in this exercise. Keeping the elbows tucked close to the body throughout the exercise, and only dipping down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, minimises injury risks while still working the triceps. However, it may be best to use alternative tricep exercises if you struggle with shoulder pain.

There are several ways to progress your tricep dip. If you’ve mastered the bench tricep dip, add more challenge by elevating your legs on a chair to reduce their involvement. You can also progress to the assisted dip bar machine, before progressing to unassisted tricep dips and even weighted tricep dips.

How To Do A Bench Tricep Dip

  1. Sit on the edge of a bench and place hands just outside of hip width distance.

  2. Extend your legs in front so the back of your heels rest on the floor and shuffle forward so your hips are off the bench.

  3. Slowly lower your body by bending at the elbows, making sure to keep them tucked close to your sides.

  4. Stop when the upper arms are parallel with the floor before extending the arms to push yourself back to the starting position.

How To Do Dip Bar Tricep Dips

  1. Stand on the footrests of the dip bar, and lean forwards to grip the bar with the arms extended. Your hands should sit directly below your elbows and shoulders.

  2. Take a slight lean forward by hinging at the hips, brace your core and hold the grips tight to prevent your body from swinging, then step off the footrests.

  3. Begin the reps by slowly bending at the elbow and lowering your self until the upper arms are parallel with the floor.

  4. Revert the movement by squeezing your triceps as you extend your arms to push yourself up to the starting position.

If you’re not sure if any of the above exercises are suitable for you, please consult your doctor before you start it. Need guidance on how to perform the exercise? Ask a personal trainer at your gym.